Landmark buildings

Landmark buildings

In 1957, many of the Middle East metropolises we know today were still dusty patches of desert. MEED has had the privilege of tracking the construction of some of the world’s most iconic structures over the past 60 years.

Dubai has led the way, from opening its World Trade Centre in 1979 to delivering the modern landmarks of the Burj al-Arab, the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building.

Guided by the vision of its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the emirate has in the past two decades become a leading tourism destination famed for its luxury resorts and turning the heads of the world’s rich and famous.

The emirate has launched more mega real estate projects than any other part of the region. Not all of these have come to fruition, but Dubai with its ambition has inspired others to follow suit.

By contrast, the construction of the Mecca royal clock tower in Saudi Arabia has proven controversial, with many decrying the loss of sites of religious and cultural significance as redevelopment of the holy city has accelerated. The complex comprises six towers that house luxury hotels, apartments and a shopping mall.